The Not So Magic Kingdom: Why Disneyland Paris Has Yet to Pay Off for Disney

Olivier Culmann for TIME

Castle in the sky Disney overestimated visitors and their spending

When the Walt Disney Co. opened Disneyland Paris 20 years ago, many French people wouldn't have bet 10 centimes that the theme-park resort, 32 km east of the French capital, would be a success. Critics lambasted the government for striking a deal with Disney that seemed to benefit the U.S. company far more than the French state. They mocked Disney's manic attention to detail, its ban on alcohol and its choice of rainy Paris over sunny Barcelona. And they wondered how such quintessentially American entertainment could thrive in the land of Molière, Cocteau and Sartre. Disney's implantation in France,...

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